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School packed lunch advise(41 Posts)
Hi as if September I will have to pay for school dinners for both my kids.
I don't work and can't claim benefits.
What is the cheapest way I can pack the kids up every day?
Anyone got any tips please?
They have packed lunch twice a week at the minute and usually bring home everything half eaten 😲
My kids current favourites are:
Crackers with marmite or cheese. Egg mayo sandwiches, scones or sometimes cold pizza or sausage rolls.
Fruit or veg: carrot sticks, cucumber, tomatoes, red/yellow peppers, banana, peaches, strawberries, melon, kiwi or apple.
Sweet treat: viscount, 2 oreos wrapped up, piece of flapjack or cake
Savory: breadsticks, popcorn, crisps, mini rice cakes.
Other ocassional bits: frubes, babybel, cheese strings, cold sausages
What do they like?
Mine have a
Pasta salad or hot in a food container when it gets colder
Then a portion of fruit and a snack like a kitkat
That’s usually enough for them.
What do you pack at the moment? If they bring everything back half eaten, I'd do a sandwich, and a piece of fruit, and then something shelf stable so if they don't eat it, it won't go off but they can eat it if they're hungry enough for it.
I don't quite know what you're asking for. Cheap ideas for packed lunches?
You say the children don't eat half of what you make them. Perhaps you could describe what you usually make, and what they don't eat, and then people might be able to give some ideas.
Mine get just the bare minimum
Either a ham/cheese salad wrap or roll
packet of crisps
I don't bother with fruit, yogurt as it wasn't getting eaten and they only have a max of 20 mins to eat (normally being chased out of dinning room after 15 mins).
I save the fruit and yogurts for an after school snack.
Are you in the UK, OP?
If you’re not working why can you not claim benefits?
My kids get some of these items:
a sandwich (or left over fried rice or pasta, if we have it)
humous to dip veg into
You may have to miss out the nuts depending in school policy
This thread says there are 10 posts but they arent showing
Why don't you ask them what they would like if the food is coming back uneaten?
My dds are 10 and 7 they get a
Sandwich/pasta/roll with a variety of fillings, or salad with ham/potato & mayo.
Cucumber or tomato.
Piece of fruit - normally grapes or pre peeled satsuma.
They can take crisps or cereal bar but often don't or rarely eat them.
I use these boxes as are a perfect size - main part for sandwich, one fruit and one veg.
Check with your school what they're allowed to have. I'd love to send DS to school with a jacket potato or soup in a flask but the school have an outright ban on packed lunch including hot food. You may / may not be able to include peanut butter as well or have other restrictions (someone on here recently posted
whilst battering the mother's inclusion of too much chocolate in the packed lunch that their child had peanut butter on their school packed lunch, we couldn't do PB sandwiches).
Focus on what is easiest for you, so:
- are there fillings for sandwiches that both kids will eat? Cut a loaf worth of these sandwiches and freeze them in individual portions so you just pull two packs of sandwiches out.
- bulk buy carton drinks and freeze them. Likewise yoghurt tubes. They act as ice packs in the lunch box and fruit juice is one of the 5 a day.
- Raisins count as one of your 5 a day and the little boxes are available cheaply from supermarkets and tend to survive being thrown around in the lunch box.
- use storage bags/ boxes so they can share salted popcorn / a bag of crisps. Whatever they say, primary kids don't need a full bag of crisps to themselves. It makes the bags go further cost wise.
- Try to get the kids involved where you can - ask them what veg they'd eat raw (we gave up on carrot but cucumber gets eaten as slices but not sticks ) so you're reducing wastage.
- add extra things in to keep them full for longer - mini peperami etc. if they'll eat them, or babybel cheese.
Shop economically avoiding big brands, consider stocking up on bargains.
Cook your own cold meats rather than buy pre-sliced chicken and beef.
My DCs has/have:
Apple or orange or gapes (transport easily)
Carrot sticks, red pepper sticks
Chocolate bar or cereal bar or cake or piece of chocolate
Sometime dips like hummous
I would keep it simple as they don't tend to be given much time to eat.
Three items a day:
1. Sandwich, wrap or roll (cheese spread, Marmite, cheese, peanut butter, ham, etc.). Some days you could swap this for something like a sausage roll, a slice of leftover pizza or quiche, hummus and breadsticks, pasta salad or cheese and crackers.
2. Salad or veg. Cucumber sticks, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, celery, pepper, olives, etc.
3. One other thing. This could be fruit, yoghurt, some crisps, a cereal bar, a carton of juice, raisins, apricots, etc. I vary this bit every day.
They don't always eat it all, but they have a hearty breakfast and usually a piece of fruit after school.
DD, a fussy child of small appetite (and veggie), has a cheese wrap or pesto pasta, some dried fruit, carrot sticks and a squeezy yoghurt.
Get them to make it with you so they take responsibility for what they have and they're more likely to eat it.
When mine were smaller they would have a 'hamburger' which was essentially a slice of home made cold meatloaf with salad in a roll: but by adding ketchup or BBQ sauce it was magically transformed into fast food and therefore cooler. Likewise 'fajitas' ie chicken salad wrap with a dab of salsa.
Having got protein and veg into them, you can do whatever they fancy as the rest: veg sticks and dips or fruit or crackers etc.
But if it's coming back every time you may need to speak to the school: are they allowed to go and play (exciting) before they have had a decent try with lunch, for example?
Hi thanks for the replies. I do ask them what they want but the still leave it.
I usually give a sandwich or pre cooked steak bake.
Apple or Orange.
School don't allow cake chocolate or biscuits.
Maybe I'm giving them too much.
Yer I'm in the UK but no spare money husband works.
If you’re trying to save money cut out the baby bel, they’re so expensive! Sandwich/roll, piece of fruit, a frube, maybe one other thing?
How old are they?
What is the "half" that gets left? Is it a bit of everything (i.e. you maybe need smaller portions) or is it the fruit / healthier stuff and the steak bake and crisps get eaten?
My DS ended up being warned that he'd be back on school meals if he didn't teat his packed lunch as we didn't have money to waste on throwing food away. Maybe do the school packed lunch shop for early Sept with them, so you can explain how much things cost.
It's really cheap to make flapjack (if you can get away with "it's a cereal bar"!) and to make your own yoghurt and add fruit or jam, we put food in old weaning pots. My DCs are a bit weird and we're going back to school dinners in Sept but at the moment they have (not all of these every day):
Just water to drink (however much they moan that everyone else gets juice).
Apple puree (I said they were weird) or rice pudding (also cheap to make - I freeze these so they cool down the lunch box) in a pot.
Hummus (home made, also cheaper, you can also freeze this).
Peppers or carrots to dip in (or cucumber) and crackers (I think these work out cheaper than breadsticks?)
Sandwiches - I only give them one slice of bread each. They mainly have tuna or ham (I bake a gammon and slice it up, again cheaper, freeze a few slices together - it might not actually be cheaper than the huge packs of Basics ham but we don't find we use them before they go off), or DD likes cheese spread.
Apples - I am finding they don't eat the whole thing so I may start chopping them up. When I used to do Brownies we found the same - they will take a couple of bites if it's whole, but if you chop it up they eat most of it.
Other fruit if it's in season e.g. if I can get a watermelon cheap I will chop it up for several lunches.
Also cold pasta and pesto (I add peas or another green veg chopped up small).
Cold noodles and stir fry.
Sandwich bag of raisins and shreddies.
We rarely give them crisps, but if they are just eating half a bag you can get smaller bags?
(Mine are 7 and 5, they don't really eat more than a one-slice sandwich normally).
9 year old DS has a ham salad wrap with a bit of extra light mayo. He has this every day and won't change which does make it easier as I don't have to think about it.
Then he will have either crisps, popcorn, mini cheddars etc.
Sometimes he will have a yoghurt.
A flap Jack or maybe a couple of oreos.
And either some chopped up fruit that doesn't go brown quickly
like melon or pineapple in a reusable plastic pot. Or some blueberries, grapes and strawberries, something easy to eat. I find if I put in whole fruit like an apple or pear he won't eat it as i don't think they have much time.